With last expansion, Mehbooba Cabinet goes full strength
Tassaduq gets Tourism, Mir Relief; Veeri, Zahoor, Asiea get more; three Ministers unhappy with Deptts
TNN Bureau. Updated: 12/29/2017 2:12:28 AM

JAMMU: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today inducted her younger brother, Tassaduq Mufti, and Chadoora MLA Javaid Mustafa Mir into her cabinet. It was the second expansion of the council of ministers since Mehbooba Mufti formed the government with the BJP in April 2016. Governor N N Vohra administered the oath to the legislators at Raj Bhavan.
Tassaduq Mufti, 45, previously served as the head of Mehbooba Mufti's grievance cell. He had returned to state politics after their father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed died in 2016.
A noted cinematographer, Tassaduq Mufti joined the PDP at a gathering organised to commemorate his father Mufti Mohammed Sayeed's first death anniversary on January 7 this year.
On December 22, he was nominated by the governor as a member of the legislative council to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Vikramaditya Singh from the PDP on October 22.
It was speculated widely that Tassaduq Mufti will get the tourism portfolio, which he indeed got, later in the day. "I will work hard for peace, progress and prosperity of Jammu and Kashmir. My focus will be to infuse life in the tourism sector in J&K," Tassaduq Mufti told reporters here.
Javed Mustafa Mir, the other legislator to be inducted into the cabinet, is an MLA from the Chadoora Assembly constituency and two-time minister. He was a minister of state in the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed government in 2002 and a cabinet minister under him in 2015.
Mir, however, was dropped from the council of ministers when Mehbooba Mufti took over as chief minister in April 2016.
The BJP, a coalition partner in the ruling alliance in the state, welcomed the minor expansion of the cabinet.
BJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh said the expansion will give a boost to the council of ministers.
"We hope for a good result for the future," Singh said.
But the Congress party questioned BJP's silence over the induction of another member of the Mufti family into the cabinet. Its state chief G A Mir said the saffron party had made dynasty rule an issue in election campaigns but it was now "keeping its eyes closed."
The National Conference said the PDP was guided by a "singular goal" of empowering one family.
NC provincial chief Nasir Aslam Wani claimed in Bandipora that the division within the PDP was never "more acute and irreconcilable".
"People who sacrificed for the PDP...have been ignored to promote through the backdoor a person who was hardly known before his late father became the chief minister in 2015.
These PDP leaders have been humiliated by their own party," Wani said.
The PDP appeared to discourage any suggestion of differences within the party. Naeem Akhtar, the minister for roads and buildings, said Tassaduq Mufti's entry will infuse young blood into the party and in the government.
"We have a lot of hope from him. The professional element, young blood and young thoughts the state will stand to benefit from his contribution," Akhtar told reporters.
Asked whether Tassaduq Mufti would be able to fill the void left by his father, the minister said that Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was a great leader.
"I don't feel such a leader will ever emerge," he said. "We need to work together to lessen the gap due to his absence."
On December 22, when Tassaduq Mufti was nominated as a member of the state legislative council, then minister of state for Haj and Auquaf, Syed Farooq Andrabi, had resigned from the council of ministers, citing "personal reasons".
Andrabi had submitted his resignation to his niece Mehbooba Mufti and it was forwarded to the governor, who accepted it
Later in the evening, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti allotted the key tourism portfolio to her younger brother Tassaduq Mufti. Javed Mir was given the portfolios of disaster management, relief and rehabilitation, and reconstruction and floriculture, the order said.
In addition, the state's Revenue and Parliamentary Affairs minister Abdul Rehman Veeri was given additional portfolio of Hajj and Auqaf, while Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development, Social Welfare, Health and Medical Education Asiea Naqash was given the additional charge of power development, industries and commerce.
Minister of State for Forest, Environment, Animal Sheep Husbandry, Fisheries and Cooperatives, Mir Zahoor Ahmad was given additional charge of public health engineering, irrigation and flood control.
On December 22, Minister of State Haj and Aquaf (Independent Charge), Power Development Department, Public Health Engineering, Irrigation and Flood Control and Industries and commerce Syed Farooq Andrabi resigned as a prelude to the inclusion of Tassaduq Mufti into the cabinet.


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